So do you have a bleeding heart?

I’m writing two posts in one night, how’s that for being impressive?  To be honest I’m actually writing about six in draft form, but I hope to post one tonight and then the hodgepodge tomorrow, so I count that!

Without further ado, here is this week’s Hodgepodge.  Play along!

1. Create an acrostic using the word LOVE. If you’re unsure what an acrostic is click here.
Long ago I had the experience
Of falling head of heels for someone
Valuable lessons learned and treasured
Even if the ending wasn’t so happy

2. Does love really conquer all? Why or why not? Continue reading

Delayed Grief and Farewell My Friend

Several years ago, a friend of mine had a headache.  Who knew that it was the beginning of the end.

Over the years, she and I developed a friendship.  A single mom who was struggling with the idea of ending her marriage, she knew that the best thing for her two daughters was to part from the father, as he was a bit too fond of his vices, and try to make a go of it on her own.  She was just a few years older than I, and throughout the phenomenon known as ‘nap time’ during the GCN Saturday shows I found out she used to live around the corner from my Aunt and Uncle, and babysat my two younger cousins.  We were not exceptionally close–we didn’t go to the movies or hang out outside of church.  But I did consider her a friend.  And a true soul at that.

She was a beautiful woman, with two beautiful daughters.  She raised her daughters in the church, and the three of them had an organic and true love for God.  She had a younger brother who was a surrogate father to them, for they loved their Uncle.

Then there came a day that she was having a headache.  Her father, after two days, forced her to go to the hospital.  No simple migraine, it turns out that she actually had MDS–myelodysplastic syndrome.  Once known as preleukemia, it is a blood disorder.  Most commonly found in people who have had chemotherapy for other conditions, it sometimes hits people for no reason at all.  That was my friend.

For the next year and a half, we watched her sail through blood transfusions, treatments, etc.  Her daughters were amazing.  Her test results came back with fantastic results.  Then there was the day that her results were not so fantastic.  She had a setback.  And then she had another.  And then it went from just a setback to full-blown leukemia.

Then came chemo.  Again, Continue reading

Nicholas Sparks should be banned from publishing

Today was my friend K’s birthday. (Happy 31st girl!) She took the day off and wanted to hang out this morning, so we went to see a movie. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of great flicks out at the moment, so we chose to see Dear John, which is based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name.  Now, I would have enjoyed it anyway just because, well, hello, Channing Tatum!  (He may not be the world’s greatest actor, but come on! Check out those pecs!  Yummy.  Where was I?)  Oh, so we chose to see this movie, and I am currently 2/3 of the way through the book too.  The movie is similar to the book, with a few significant differences, but it is pretty much your standard Nicholas Sparks’ film–lots of schlock, lots of trite lines, boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy and girl have agonizing relationship, blah blah blah.  Your typical sappy chick-flick tear-jerker.  (Yes, I cried.  I cry at marshmallow commercials.  So sue me.)

Anywho, maybe it’s the last five days worth of wedding-related relationship-required postings, but I started thinking. Continue reading

Bridal Dos and Don’ts, Part 4

Disclaimer: Seriously, this is just stuff I think.  Make your own list!

Final notes

  • Your caterers are waiters and waitresses.  They are usually making about $4/hour for your event.  TIP THEM.  If you tip the manager or the catering director, the odds are that the money will never make it to the staff.  One of the companies that I left a management position in I left for that very reason–the owner got the tip and didn’t share, and it equated to several hundred dollars per event minimum.  That should be split amongst those that actually work the event, and he was pocketing it.  I was taxed for it.  If at all possible, tip the servers the night of the function, as the odds that they will receive the money will go up considerably.  Also tip appropriately.  $100 for a catered event for 250 people means that each worker will get about $7.50.  You do the math.  If you can tip your bartenders separately, that’s even better.  They are second to the bridal bitch in the hardest working people around.
  • If you see the workers drinking, it’s kind of standard.  I don’t drink often, and I never drink at work.  It’s a habit born of having to drive everyone else home.  But chefs are known for their alcohol abuse, and you can bet that when the last guest is gone everyone is popping the bottle open.  If you are in a smaller venue you’ll probably see blatant consummation.
  • Speaking of consummation, don’t consummate the wedding at the reception, wait until the wedding night.  That’s just tacky, y’all.  And most of all, keep an eye on the bridal party.  Those of you who are not marrying for love (and you know who you are) need to be wary.  More than once I have walked in on the groom with someone in a compromising position, and that someone was not the one wearing white that just said “I do”.
  • The day is supposed to be fun.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  So it’s raining, it’s good luck in some cultures.  So the mother of the groom is patting your belly asking about the bun in the oven, and you’ve not even thought about kids.  She’s now your family, and you’ve got to learn to ignore her at some point.  It’s a whole new life baby, get ready for the ride!

That’s it, kiddos.  I could have kept going, but even I am sick of reading this stuff.  What are your tips???

Bridal Dos and Don’ts, Part 3

Disclaimer: Blah blah blah.  Same stuff I’ve said the last two days.

Only one more day after this, I promise!

The reception

  • Have enough food.  Doesn’t have to be steak for everyone, a buffet is fine.  Just have enough.
  • Have appropriate entertainment.  It can be a reception in the church fellowship hall where all are mingling, and that’s fine.  A karaoke machine instead of a band is a hard sell, especially when the bride limits the singers to the bridal party only.  (There were only so many times I could hear Redneck Woman.)  A band is fine, a DJ is fine.  If your guests are mostly over the age of 60, it is a waste of money to have a dance floor.  A string quartet of high school students makes a nice background accompaniment.
  • Take care of rituals early so that your extended guests can leave.  Don’t wait three hours to cut the cake, toss the bouquet, etc.
  • The best man makes a speech.  Maybe the maid of honor.  Not every member of the bridal party and every family member present.
  • Beware the camera-on-every-table trick.  If you do this, you’ll get a ton of photos of the first 90 minutes of the reception and then the film will be gone.  It’s a great idea in theory.  One of the best ways I saw it handled was to have the caterers put cameras on a singular table in shifts every hour or so, so that new cameras would be available for other photos.
  • Be nice to your bartender.  There may not be a tip jar displayed due to company rules, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t take cash.  Also remember that an open bar does not mean that the bartenders are getting tipped.
  • Know when to wrap things up.  Make sure that you have a time table.  Your caterers have been working at least two, sometimes three hours longer than you have been there, and usually they have another hour or so after the last guest leaves.  Not to mention you will also have to pay a fine if you go over in time for your venue rental.

The cake: Continue reading

Bridal Dos and Don’ts, Part 2

Disclaimer: This post is completely opinionated.  It is from my experience as a caterer and ‘bridal bitch’ for more than fifteen years, as well as being in seven weddings as an attendant of some sort.  It is compiled from the conversations employees had in the kitchen during/after events and cracking up over the antics of whatever reception was going on.  It is by no means meant to be a gospel truth, it’s just lessons learned over time!

Continued from yesterday, and to be continued tomorrow!!!

The ceremony

  • Depending on your religion, ethnicity, and personal preference, just about anything goes.  You may have a full homily, you may have written your own vows, you may have  just enough strength to say “I do” and nothing else.  Pre-ceremony music is fine.  Eighteen solos is extensive.  A long-lost tape recording of dad playing the recorder is a bit much.  Just remember your guests.   Communion for 200 takes a lot of time, so have more than one person offering.  A full homily can take awhile, so make sure that you have seats for the wedding party.   Many people may not be of your faith, so a program would be nice explaining traditions such as kneeling, head coverings, etc. Continue reading

Bridal Dos and Don’ts, Part 1

Disclaimer: This post is completely opinionated.  It is from my experience as a caterer and ‘bridal bitch’ for more than fifteen years, as well as being in seven weddings as an attendant of some sort.  It is compiled from the conversations employees had in the kitchen during/after events and cracking up over the antics of whatever reception was going on.  It is by no means meant to be a gospel truth, it’s just lessons learned over time!

So when I started typing, I realized I had a lot to say.  I guess 15 years of working weddings leads to a very opinionated point of view.  So it will probably be 2-3 days worth of postings!

Before the ceremony

  • Arrive with plenty of time to get ready.  Be it at a church or at a venue, give yourself at least two hours to relax and to get dressed with no stress.  Depending on your hair length, you have probably had someone else style your hair ahead of time.  Take care.  Do not wear a pullover shirt, do not ride with the windows down, do not run after your flower girl.  You are already on wedding alert, and cannot mess with the hair because odds are someone there will not be able to fix it.
  • Have a ‘bridal bitch’.  This is a term that we called the head catering employee that was to wait on the bride and make sure all needs are met.  If you are getting married in a church or someplace other than the reception site, ask a friend to do it.  Your Mistress of Ceremonies could, but odds are they are otherwise occupied.  This person should come prepared with the following items: Bottled water, straws, mending kit, tampons, first aid kit (bandaids, peroxide, etc.), several travel packs of tissues, saltines, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, contact/saline solution, bobby pins, hair spray, serious sticky tape, matches, nail polish, washcloth, and straight pins/floral pins/floral tape.  I know, I know, you want to know what all this is for.  I shall explain:

Continue reading